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# How are new bitcoins created?

New coins are generated by a network node each time it finds the solution to a certain mathematical problem (i.e. creates a new block), which is difficult to perform and can demonstrate a proof of work. The reward for solving a block is automatically adjusted so that in the first 4 years of the Bitcoin network, 10,500,000 XBT will be created. The amount is halved each 4 years, so it will be 5,250,000 over years 4-8, 2,625,000 over years 8-12 and so on. Thus the total number of coins will approach 21,000,000 XBT over time.

In addition, built into the network is a system that attempts to allocate new coins in blocks about every 10 minutes, on average, somewhere on the network. As the number of people who attempt to generate these new coins changes, the difficulty of creating new coins changes. This happens in a manner that is agreed upon by the network as a whole, based upon the time taken to generate the previous 2016 blocks. The difficultyis therefore related to the average computing resources devoted to generate these new coins over the time it took to create these previous blocks. The likelihood of somebody "discovering" one of these blocks is based on the computer they are using compared to all of the computers also generating blocks on the network.

# What's the current total number of bitcoins in existence?

The number of blocks times the coin value of a block is the number of coins in existence. The coin value of a block is 50 XBT for each of the first 210,000 blocks, 25 XBT for the next 210,000 blocks, then 12.5 XBT, 6.25 XBT and so on.

# How divisible are bitcoins?

Technically, a bitcoin can be divided down to 8 decimals using existing data structures, so 0.00000001 XBT is the smallest amount currently possible. Discussions about and ideas for ways to provide for even smaller quantities of bitcoins may be created in the future if the need for them ever arises.

# How does the halving work when the number gets really small?

The reward will go from 0.00000001 XBT to 0. Then no more coins will likely be created.

The calculation is done as a right bitwise shift of a 64-bit signed integer, which means it is divided by 2 and rounded down. The integer is equal to the value in XBT * 100,000,000. This is how all Bitcoin balances/values are stored internally.

Keep in mind that using current rules this will take nearly 100 years before it becomes an issue and bitcoins may change considerably before that happens.

How long will it take to generate all the coins?

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